Was it Danzig or Wattie or Pushead or someone else I’ve long since forgotten about who first conveyed to me that the iconography of the human skull — in the form of a Jolly Roger or a Crimson Ghost — was the punk equivalent of the “real” seal on dairy products in this country? Whoever it was, they rattled the cage of a very old archetype and got it to leave its droppings all over my mind. And lo, all these many years later, though I’ve been hoodwinked a few times here and there, it still, more or less, holds true. Yeah, it’s stupid and cartoonish and probably best personified by that cretinous thug kid on The Simpsons with the black skull shirt, but skull imagery almost always tells you that this is a band that isn’t afraid of the repercussions of being stupid and cartoonish and delving into a bit of mindless skullduggery. Wanted Dead is one such band — at least sonically speaking. Fast, clean, compact street punk with some metal flourishes, they strike me as something like a cross between the Casualties and Agnostic Front. If I could ever bring myself to actually read the lyrics of a band like this, I would let you know if they’re straightedge or not, but I don’t really give a damn whether they think I should drink or not. But I will pour some cold PBR into my skull and listen to this album again. Good stuff.